Nimbus Data touts 64TB SSD as nearline drive alternative

Nimbus Data today announced a 64TB SSD using QLC (4bits/cell flash, the highest-capacity QLC SSD available).

Nimbus is pitching the ExaDrive NL as a disk drive replacement and claims customers can increase storage capacity by 4x, improve data access times by over 100x, and reduce power per terabyte by 75 per cent compared to disk. The drive hits a sweet spot between nearline disk drives and NVMe SSDs, according to the company – it is faster than disk drives and slower than NVMe SSDs but has higher capacity than both.

Nimbus Data CEO Thomas Isakovich told Blocks & Files: “ExaDrive NL delivers the capacity and value to effectively replace hard drives in environments where performance is critical but where SSDs have historically been cost-prohibitive.”

The ExaDrive NL comes is 16TB, 32TB and 64TB capacity points and retail prices at time of writing are $2,900, $5,600 and $10,900. Nimbus updates prices every three months, based on flash market conditions.

Jeff Janukowicz, an IDC research VP, provided a quote: “High capacity QLC flash SSDs, like Nimbus Data’s ExaDrive NL, help organisations migrate to enterprise-grade flash storage as cost-effectively as possible, while simplifying hybrid storage that blends HDDs and SSDs seamlessly to optimise cost and performance for their workloads.” 

SSDs are cheaper to operate than disk drives, needing less power and cooling, and are much faster to access. SSDs are also more reliable. But they cost a lot more – the price differential today between enterprise SSDs and nearline hard drives is typically about 10x. Wells Fargo senior analyst Aaron Rakers argues customers will mass-replace nearline drives with SSDs when prices for the latter drop to a maximum of 5x higher than HDDs.

Isakovich tells us: “We are seeing $27/TB in distribution for the new WD 18TB nearline HDD. The 64TB ExaDrive NL series SSD … is priced at $170/TB in distribution. That is a 6x premium. So looks like we are right at the inflection point. Most analysts expect QLC pricing to decline in the coming quarters, so I believe a 5x premium will be achievable by year-end.”

The ExaDrive NL has a 3.5-inch case and gets its 64TB of data out to accessing hosts via SATA or a dual-port SAS interface, which supports high-availability enterprise needs.

Performance numbers are:

  • 100,000 IOPS (read and write @ 4 KB)
  • 500 MB/sec (read and write)
  • 0.2- 0.6 Drive Writes per Day (depending on block-size, up to 70 PBW, which would be the 64 TB at 0.6 DWPD)

The ExaDrive NL is qualified with servers from Dell EMC, HPE, Lenovo, Cisco and Supermicro and is available now from Nimbus distributors and partners.